Naquawna Letman is a Library Assistant at Parkway Central Library and a participant in Cohort 3 of the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries trainings.
Exploring Music and Food through the Senses is a program that introduces participants to various cultures and traditions, creates bridges between neighborhood libraries and their customers, and inspires participants to explore new food and music.
Participants learn a recipe, listen to music on a record player from The Free Library of Philadelphia’s vinyl collection, make up their own beat or song using craft materials, and learn about the history and traditions of selected countries all while engaging their senses.
This program began as a new approach to increasing school age children and young adults’ engagement with Parkway Central Library’s Music Department. Due to targeted marketing towards adults, our sheet music, books, and instruments are often overlooked by adolescents. The collaboration between the Music Department and the Culinary Literacy Center enables us to promote musical instruments and concepts in connection with learning about food, community, and culture.
The Skills for Community-Centered Libraries training impacted the success of this project. Specifically, learning how to identify my professional strengths and expanding my awareness of team dynamics helped me utilize the skills of team members whose strengths were my weaknesses. My colleagues helped with program formatting, policy and procedures, and tips on teaching different age groups.
Equally important, practicing strategic facilitation skills such as asking open-ended questions to encourage deeper discussions helped me realize missing pieces of the project I hadn’t anticipated, find new resources, and finalize the program guide. Identifying current community assets and resources at neighborhood libraries, using community assets when developing programs, and sharing programming and community successes with different audiences are main features of the program we developed.
Exploring Music and Food through the Senses is family-oriented and can be customized to the demographics of each neighborhood, ensuring community needs are served. Learning new approaches to program development helped me incorporate flexibility for the presenters and participants. Without the skills learned in the trainings, I may not have contemplated organizing such an adaptable program.
Please join us for the following Exploring Music and Food through the Senses events:
- September 28 at Widener Library | India theme
- October 5 in the Culinary Literacy Center | Caribbean theme | 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- November 16 at Torresdale Library | Latin theme | 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [Grant #RE-95-17-0089-17].